Foreign Policy Magazine

The Ministry of Preemption

To stop security breaches before they happen, U.S. intelligence agencies are surveilling everything.

On April 7, an odd-looking jet landed at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan. Codenamed Constant Phoenix, it was a U.S. Air Force version of a Boeing 707 but with round pods on the fuselage designed to “sniff” the atmosphere for radioactivity. Eight days later, across the East China Sea, North Korea would be celebrating the “Day of the Sun,” marking the 105th birthday of its founder, Kim Il Sung. And because many in the Donald Trump administration were concerned that the festivities would include a very big surprise—the country’s sixth nuclear test—Constant Phoenix was on alert. But when the celebrations ended, the

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